Mississippi’s Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks gave its final approval this week to new crappie limits at five of the state’s top fishing lakes, including four North Mississippi Flood Control Reservoirs (FCR).

Under the new FCR regulations at Arkabutla, Enid, Grenada and Sardis lakes, beginning on July 22, the minimum length of crappie that anglers can keep will be 12 inches. The creel limit will be 15 per angler per day, except on boats with three or more anglers the limit will be 40. The creel limits will be the same — 15 per day, 40 per boat — the spillways of the four lakes, including Sardis’ Lower Lake.

In addition, fishermen are limited to no more than four poles per person at any time on the FCRs.

At a fifth lake, Eagle Lake, an old Mississippi River oxbow lake about 20 miles north of Vicksburg, the Commission gave final approval to a minimum length of 11 inches for crappie and a daily creel limit of 30 per angler. With Eagle Lake being a border lake, this rule change is contingent upon Louisiana adopting the same regulation. It would be effective Oct. 1, if the two states adopt the same regulation.

Grass battle continues

State wildlife officials have renewed its war against evasive cogongrass at two Wildlife Mangement Areas.

Cogongrass, which is native to Asia, that has invaded the Southeast United States, is present in over 60 of Mississippi’s 82 counties but has been problematic in only two management areas, Marion County WMA near Columbia and Old River WMA near Poplarville.

According to the MDWFP, the problem with the species is that it offers zero benefits to wildlife, and competes with and often dominates native vegetation that wildlife needs. Infestations typically occur in road and utility right of ways, managed openings, sandbars and other areas of soil disturbance. It grows rapidly, spreading quickly from a small patch to several acres if left untreated.

MDWFP uses herbicides through the spring growing season and will deep disk where possible in areas where tractors can reach without risk to soil erosion. It is easily identifiable in spring due to its white fluffy flowers and seed head.

MDWFP advises that any landowner who recognizes and treats cogongrass should clean equipment thoroughly after contact to prevent spread to new areas.

Youth Initiative applications accepted

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is now accepting applications — through Aug. 15 — for its 2015-16 Youth Participation Initiative (YPI).

The YPI was established to provide funding for the purpose of educating youth in the areas of hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation.  During 2014-2015, the YPI provided a total of $147,274.00 to help fund 21 projects across Mississippi.  

State agencies, educational institutions and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. Interested applicants are urged to consider projects that focus on recruitment, retention, and/or education of youth in the fields of hunting, fishing, or conservation.

Projects that consider increasing opportunity in the areas of hunting, fishing, or conservation or educate youth in any area of safety relating to hunting, fishing, or conservation are also encouraged. 

For an application and more information on the program, visit www.mdwfp.com/education-outreach/youth-programs/youth-participation-initiative-grants.aspx.